The United States is home to a wide variety of health conditions, ranging from the most common to the rarest. Heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, obesity, Alzheimer's, diabetes, substance abuse disorders, the flu, kidney disease, and mental health conditions are among the most prevalent health issues in the US. While the leading causes of death may vary from place to place, it is important to recognize that many of these conditions can be prevented, delayed, or even reversed with preventive care, dietary changes, exercise, or medications. For instance, diabetes and heart disease are two of the most common health problems in the US.
Diabetes can be present from birth (type 1) or develop later in life (type 2). Type 2 diabetes may appear suddenly or be related to lifestyle factors such as weight gain. Diabetes affects how the body uses glucose (sugar), and long-term complications can develop over time. These include kidney disease, nerve damage, eye damage, cardiovascular disease, skin conditions, depression, and more.
Allergies are another common health issue in the US. Allergies are an immune response triggered by allergens - usually harmless substances - and those with allergies have a particularly sensitive immune system that reacts when they come into contact with them. The best way to treat allergies is to eliminate or avoid the cause; however, some lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms if this is not possible. For example, if you're allergic to dust mites, make sure to keep your room clean and dust-free by vacuuming, dusting and washing bedding regularly.
For pollen allergies, avoid being outside when pollen levels are high and keep windows closed. Some allergies go away with age while others last a lifetime. Colds and influenza (flu) are also very common among college students. Cluster headaches affect a specific point on the head - often the eye - and are characterized by sharp and penetrating pain.
Migraines and tension headaches are much more common; recent studies have even linked low levels of serotonin to tension headaches. The cause of a headache is often difficult to pinpoint; however, keeping a record of when it starts and ends, its location and intensity as well as any factors that seem to trigger it (diet, stress, menstrual cycle etc.) can help identify its cause. Mononucleosis is another common health condition caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is transmitted through saliva. Mental health problems can be caused by reactions to medications, vision and hearing problems, infections, nutritional imbalances or other health issues. If you're considering a career in public health it is important to keep an eye on current health trends in order to inform your job search.
Working on direct patient care is not the only way to make a positive change in public health; other industries can also play an important role in improving public health outcomes.